With a shared love of the outdoors, Uinta National Forest was the perfect spot to host this small, bright and romantic outdoor wedding in the woods.
How long have you been together, and how did you meet?
We were introduced in college by mutual friends twice—the first time so briefly that Jo didn’t remember Abby at all! But Abby remembered.
The second time was at a bonfire, and we were introduced by our friend JD, who officiated our wedding. We were all part of an unofficial club for queer students at our private religious university. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to date because it was part of the student code of conduct, so we had to keep our relationship primarily secret (apart from family and trusted friends) for several months until we both graduated. Our relationship is the best thing that has come out of going to that college.
Aside from your wedding, what is your favorite memory together?
It’s so hard to pick something like this!! Our favorite moments are almost always cuddled up together at home. Such homebodies! But, going to the cabin in Brighton, Utah, has been a place where we have really bonded while being surrounded by nature. It’s our special place.
Tell us about the proposal.
We never actually had a big “pop the question” proposal! However, we had a couple of stand-out conversations about our future and if getting married would be part of that. Those were tender conversations, always at home where we are most comfortable.
Any stories from the lead-up to the wedding, stressful or funny?
We wanted to have a tree planting for our unity ceremony but left the buying of the tree until the morning of!! Big mistake. Long story short, the purchasing system at the nursery wasn’t working, the owner and her daughter were fighting about it, and 45 minutes later, we left without a tree.
Talk us through your wedding day.
The morning was a blur of activity and a lot of setups. We made the mistake of being too involved in the setup on the day of, and it made us run late!
We got ready together. Jo did Abby’s hair, Jo’s sister Cienna did our makeup, and our moms helped us get dressed. Abby and her mom put Jo’s shoes on in a silly moment during getting ready. Our florist Moranda was set up in the basement of the house we had the reception at, and when we got the first glimpses of our flowers, we cried because they were insanely beautiful.
Just the two of us drove out to the ceremony spot, which was a much-needed moment of quiet. Our ceremony was in the perfect location. We had prepped our flower girls to walk slowly. Which they did so well that it took them two minutes to get down the aisle. Abby’s siblings sang the Neil Young song Silver and Gold, which has been sung at all our weddings, in remembrance of Abby’s late father, John. Our officiant did a fabulous job, and we had Jo’s dad do a reading of To Love Is Not To Possess by James Kavanaugh, and Abby’s sister, who is a yoga teacher, led us all in a short meditation. We also did a ring warming, where our ring box was passed to all our guests to offer a prayer, warm wishes, intentions, or blessings.
We did family portraits and bridals immediately after the ceremony, which included a lot of singing. Then, driving back, our photographers saw a herd of sheep grazing nearby, and we jumped out to snap some pics of that, which was funny.
Our reception was so fun! Our guests drove from the forest to the house and were greeted with charcuterie, live jazz piano, and prosecco. We had a pizza truck cater. Our signature drinks were named after our cats. We really wanted to get a picture with each table. So we made it a challenge to get them all during one song, You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall & Oates.
Around sunset, we got a picture with everyone in attendance, which was really special. Our first dance was to Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves, and the last dance was Beginning to Feel the Years by Brandi Carlile. Abby’s family is big into dancing, and it was so much fun to swing around the little kids with a drink in one hand. We had lawn games, card games, and board games set up for people to play throughout the night. After dancing, we got to talk to everyone individually, and then we left with a “Clayton Kiss,” where everyone blew a kiss on the count of three.
Advice for other couples planning a smaller wedding?
Even though it’s small, that doesn’t automatically mean it will be cheap! Before setting a date, run through realistic numbers to have a good idea of what you’re getting into financially. Also, hire a professional day-of coordinator or planner with experience! It will make such a significant difference on the day of the wedding.
What does the future hold for you both?
We are planning a bigger Europe trip in the next couple of summers. During a break from Abby’s high school and Jo’s Master’s program. Eventually, we want to live in a small house that we can homestead. With chickens and maybe goats, and a big vegetable garden. We want to have kids together someday. But, mostly, we’re just looking forward to waking up together and spending our evenings together and getting to do life together.
Photography by Poppy and Co Photography
Accessories Sonoran Oceans Designs, The Blissful Co, GLDN, Jo Malone, Tiebar, Dazi
Catering Fiore Pizza
Ceremony Venue Uinta National Forest
Decorative Elements Lovely Heart Things, World Market, IKEA
Dress Boutique David’s Bridal
Dress Designer Melissa Sweet
Engagement Rings FiEmma, Shane Co
Florist Mora Flora
Printer Smart Press
Prop | Furniture Hire Diamond Event and Tent
Shoes Naturalizer, Mia
Sound Five Rivers Enterprises
Wedding Rings Automic Gold